I don't hate him. I hate what he does.
This world of ours is so confused. We have no problem calling people our enemies. I am also a culprit. There have been many moments when "I hate him" slips from my lips. Unconditional love is incredible and very difficult. God is amazing in that. He always has unconditional love. He always gives another chance.
So I was driving with my little five year old and all of a sudden I smelled it. I looked at her. She had just been in the bathroom five minutes before, so there was no way it could possibly be her, except that smell. I asked her the dreaded question.
"Did you pee?"
She looked at me, eyes full of fear, but an innocent smile creeping across her face to try to soften the blow.
"Yes, I'm sorry..."
"How?" I replied, legitimately stumped. "You just went to the bathroom a few minutes ago!"
Innocent tears welled up in her eyes. "Do you hate me?"
And all of a sudden, I realize this is what God's love is for us.
We sin! We pee all over ourselves. All over our lives and our situations. We make our own foolish decisions, whether accidentally or intentionally, but we do it every day. We pee on ourselves.
And then when the Holy Spirit comes to convict us, we look at him like He hates us now. We take on the identity that we must be pee children now and He couldn't possibly love us, because we are pee. When the truth is we are not our sin. We sin. But God wants to scoop us up out of that with loving and tender arms and clean us off and kiss us and wants us to try to stay clean. He knows full well that we may pee on ourselves again. It doesn't mean he ever stops loving us though. We sin, He loves us anyways, cleans us off, forgives us. He's just that good.
So I replied to her "No! I don't hate you! I love you so much! But you smell like pee..."
Romans 3:22-24 MSG
The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.